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Full text of "Verdict On India"

VERDICT OX IXDIA
The mystery remained as deep a^> ever. It was a most tantalizing
business, as though one were straining after an echo from over
the Eastern hills, that faded into silence just before its meaning
was disclosed.
in
A few days* after the audience with the Maharajah, a card arrived
from the Palace announcing that a special performance of repre-
sentative Indian music would be given that night for my benefit.
TYe will Attend this concert without further delay.
It is held in a small room adjoining the royal apartments.
The audience consists of the Lord Chamberlain, the Master of
Ceremonies, the Private Secretary, and an unknown Personage
who, judging by the hize of the diamond on his finger, must be
something very grand indeed.
Before us, squatting on their haunches, are the thirteen members
of the orchestra, looking very attractive in their snow-white
uniforms.
A word mufct be said about the composition of this orchestra* ~*
For though the basis of music, as of all arts, is rhythm, the means
by which this rhythm is enunciated is through various types of
sound which—in Western music—are beautiful in themselves. The
trill of a flute is sweet even though it is saying nothing in particular;
it has the pleasing quality of bird song. Tauber singing a simple
scale, the rich beat of a well-tuned drum, the G string of a
Stradivaricus, the common cord of C on a Steinway.. .these are
in themselves agreeable to the ear. They are not, of course, music,
but to the Westerner, at least, they are the appropriate compon-
ents of music, as opposed, let us say, to the screech of a tram car
or the squawk of a crow.
These observations are elementary, but they are also necessary,
for they immediately bring us face to face with one of the most
startling differences between Indian and European music...the
actual quality of the sound with which the Indian makes his music is of
altogether minor importance. For instance, there is no such thing in
India as 4a beautiful voice* as we know it; Caruso would receive
ao better marks than the nearest rag and bone merchant. For this